Wales Rally GB wins major award

Best Event ‘Oscar’ at the National Tourism Awards for Wales 2015Accolade presented by Ken Skates AM, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and TourismThe far-reaching success of Wales Rally GB has been recognised with a major honour at the National Tourism Awards for Wales 2015.

The UK’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship was voted as the outright Gold winner in the Best Event (Large) category at a special ceremony hosted by BBC Radio Wales presenter Roy Noble OBE at the Vale Resort, Hensol last night (Wednesday 25 March). The prize was presented to Ben Taylor, managing director of Wales Rally GB and Rob Jones, chief executive of the Motor Sports Association, by Ken Skates AM, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism.

It is the first time Wales Rally GB has entered these esteemed awards and is further recognition of the sporting event’s successful revitalisation following a move to a new base in north Wales in 2013.

The annual awards – dubbed the Oscars night for the tourism industry – showcase the very best in Welsh tourism from the best places to stay and eat, to Wales’ top businesses in the important tourism sector.

The citation for the Best Event category was for ‘an event that really put Wales on the map’ demonstrating the provision of a unique, successful and unforgettable experience for those that attended.

The judges were keen to credit an event that attracted visitors from outside the local area and helped raise Wales’ profile as the event destination. Also to see evidence of the event having a positive economic impact on the local community – and drawing upon the skills and expertise of local residents and businesses to create a sustainable, vibrant and unique visitor experience.

Successful marketing and promotion, impeccable organisation and commitment to safety were other key considerations as well as a commitment to developing and improving the event in line with the changing needs of consumer trends.

“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this highly prestigious award,” said a delighted Taylor after being presented with the trophy. “It is perhaps most significant as it recognises the value of the rally to Wales, over and above the £10m impact on the economy. We are attracting 80,000 people to the event, the majority of whom are from outside Wales, and we are showcasing the beautiful Welsh countryside to 50 million people around the world.

“I am proud to accept this accolade on behalf of my dedicated team, the thousands of incredible volunteers that make it all possible, and of course our partners without whose critical support the event would not be happening in Wales.

“It was the Welsh Government’s vision that brought the World Rally Championship to Wales in the first place and it is their on-going support that keeps it here; Conwy County Borough Council have been amazing hosts since the event moved North and many other local authorities have played their part too; Toyota have turned over their manufacturing plant on Deeside to provide the central Service Park for the rally; Natural Resources Wales provides stage roads of the very highest quality found anywhere in the world; while the police and emergency services work closely with us to keep the event as safe as possible.

“It all comes together to create something incredibly special within Wales and we look forward to continuing these relationships and making it even more successful in the future.”

Councillor Dilwyn Roberts, Leader of Conwy County Borough Council was also among those collecting the award. He said: “We congratulate Wales Rally GB on this fantastic achievement, this impressive award is richly deserved. We value our successful and rewarding partnership with WRGB and look forward to welcoming the event back to North Wales in November.”

This year’s Wales Rally GB (12-15 November) will again be based in Deeside, north Wales with the spectacular competitive action staged in the famous forests in and around Snowdonia.

Full details of the 2015 Wales Rally GB route will be published later in the year with ticket details announced at the same time.

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